We often hear about how networking can help you with your job search, but what about giving back? What have you done for your network lately? Remember that networking is a two-way street. If you want to receive any assistance from your network, you need to give even more. Here are some ways that you can give back to your network.
1. Let them know about available jobs. When you hear about an available position, you have a unique opportunity to do a big favour for the people in your network. Send them the details of the position. Even if it is not applicable to them, they may have a family member or a friend who would be a perfect fit. This is always a welcome gesture. Everyone loves a networking contact who alerts them to possible job prospects.
2. Offer to act as a reference, or give them a recommendation on LinkedIn. You can always offer to be a reference for any of your previous coworkers. Even managers sometimes need references from employees who reported to them. Additionally, you can give your networking contacts recommendations on LinkedIn. People will appreciate it because these recommendations can be difficult to get, and it will help your contact to achieve a complete profile.
3. Offer congratulations for promotions, achievements, birthdays, and other life events. Give your networking a personal touch by sending cards, or calling your contacts to offer congratulations. If you see their work featured in a publication, clip out the article and send it to them. Your contacts will feel more connected to you if you show a genuine interest in their lives.
4. Ask how you can help them. It is always a good idea to ask your networking contacts how you can help them. Are they looking for a real estate agent? Do they need a recommendation for a dog walker? Are they looking for someone to develop their web site? Peoples’ needs are as unique as the people themselves. Let them tell you what they need, and do your best to assist them.
5. Keep in touch with them. Keep a list of the people in your network, and make sure that you contact them regularly. This will help you to keep in touch with their lives and their careers, and it will demonstrate that you are not the type of person who only calls when you need something.
6. Act on referrals and be professional. Show appreciation by acting on their referrals. Be professional at all times. Remember that your behaviour reflects on your network.
7. Thank them for any help that they give you. Be appreciative and follow-up with them on any assistance that they have given you.
Networking works best when you spend most of your time thinking about the needs of others. If you keep your focus on helping the people in your network, you will find that when you need assistance, your contacts will be lining up to help you.
(Written By: Karen Bivand, Photo From: AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)